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Podcast No. 23: Jeremy Powers, 4-Time Cyclocross National Champion
My guest today is four-time cyclocross national champion Jeremy Powers.
Considered by many to be the “godfather” of the sport in the US, Jeremy recently made the decision to retire from competitive cycling at age 35, having spent the past two decades racing at an elite level. Jeremy and I talk about his decision to retire despite still being able to compete with the world's best, as well as his ability to comeback from serious illness and injury at various points in his career. We also discuss the mental side of racing, including his unique use of music as an effective training tool. As usual, we get into the best nutrition, sleep and recovery tips Jeremy’s discovered through many years of self-experimentation, plus what influences him today and his plans for the future. What really stands out to me from this conversation is Jeremy’s gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities he’s been given. I think that’s played a huge role in all the success he’s had throughout his career.
3:28 - Career Reflection. “I was able to win a bunch of races and really do all the things I thought were important in the sport, and take a lead on growing the sport in the United States. ... I never was the most talented rider, but I had a lot of drive and a lot of determination to get the most out of myself.” 5:40 - What is Cyclocross? When comparing it to other forms of cycling, “It’s the difference between chess and checkers.” 7:47 - Path to Becoming a Pro. “With a little bit of success, you start to take everything more seriously.” 9:17 - Morning Routine. Jeremy begins each day with a glass of water. “I try to jump out of bed as quickly as I can … I like to get out and get sun on my face as quickly as I can.” He regularly has eggs for breakfast and likes to stay away from carbs to avoid glucose fluctuations. 12:49 - Tracking Nutrition. “That led me to a ketogenic diet, which I tried for about 2 months.” He uses MyFitnessPal. 15:47 - Recommend Keto? “Intermittently. You should try it, but not for years of your life.” Jeremy feels this way about many health and fitness trends, moderation is key. “I learned a lot about my body in the year that I was doing all that testing.” 20:36 - “Tons of Different Bikes.” Jeremy employs a great variety of training methods. 22:15 - Team vs Individual Competition. He’s done both throughout his career, “There’s a lot more pressure that comes with that [as an individual].” 23:35 - Stretching. “I’ve been told I’m very flexible.” 24:12 - Post-Workout Meal. This is when he goes high-carb. “Rice, quinoa, gluten-free pastas and bread,” among other things. “I’ve been gluten free for about two years.” Jeremy says “the lack of inflammation” is good for cyclists. 25:49 - Meditation. “When my days are more crazy, I try to meditate later in the day.” 27:08 - Seeing a Sports Psychologist at age 17. “That mind-body flow state … it’s been huge to be able to get to that place.” 28:44 - Music as Training Tool. “If you have a song that really motivates you or makes you feel a certain way, don’t listen to it until it’s go time.” Jeremy listens to calming music while warming up. “For me I just learned being too stimulated was a detriment to my success.” 33:11 - Futurizing. “I actually futurize quite a bit. For better or for worse. That can get bad if you have a lot on your plate.” 34:14 - Gratitude & Positivity. “I call it ‘the momentum loop.’ It’s all about positive momentum. … Surround yourself with the most positive people and the most positive environment you can.” 35:49 - Valley Fever & Collapsed Lung. “The doctor came in and was like ‘Hey, you’ve either got AIDS, cancer, or the worst case of valley fever.” It made Jeremy feel like he might die, but he embraced the experience and found positivity in it. “You can find happiness in just about anything.” 40:01 - Doubting he Could Come Back? “I had all the tools to be able to make it happen.” He refocused on his goals. “I’m going to go 10,000% for this. Everything that I have is going to go into cycling.” 41:33 - Getting on WHOOP. “I’d never worn a watch my whole life. … It’s helped me considerably in how I manage my energy output.” 44:23 - In the Red? Check out his #inthegreen video. “I was in the red for almost a month,” prior to last year’s nationals. “Since I retired I think I’ve had the longest string of green days.” 47:37 - Cold Showers. “I’ll end with the last 30 seconds colder, but ice cold is not my jam.” Jeremy and Will discuss how it can benefit your body to be cold sometimes. 52:24 - Eye Masks & Ear Plugs for sleeping. “I wear an eye mask everyday, even when it’s a dark room. … I travel with wax ear plugs too.” 53:51 - Melatonin. “I only need 1 mg and it’s lights out for me.” He likes to take it when he’s already in bed and ready to sleep. 56:14 - Recovery Tactics. “I travel with a tennis ball so I can put it behind me if I’m going to sit somewhere for a long time and I want to have good posture.” 58:34 - His Influencers. “I listen to Freakanomics, I listened to [Tim] Ferris for a long time, I’ve listened to a lot of entrepreneurial podcasts over the years. … I’m not listening to things that don’t bring me something that I feel really energized by.” 1:00:44 - People who Inspire him. “In cycling there were a handful of people who I looked up to that ended up not being people you should be looking up to.” He was a big fan of DJ AM “I love super talented people.” 1:03:34 - The Jam Fund. “Basically we did it to make it easier. Cycling is a tough sport. … It’s all about doing what we can locally.” Go to www.jamcycling.org to learn more.